Applying interior design principles to your outdoor kitchen

outdoor kitchen
An outdoor kitchen is the perfect spot for summer entertaining. Here, we’ll show you how to apply indoor kitchen design rules outdoors to create an outdoor kitchen that will be the envy of your neighborhood.

Cold, hot, wet, dry

Use the basic work triangle to ensure the primary elements of your outdoor kitchen are spaced properly. They should be close enough to be convenient but far enough apart to provide ample room to work.

Work zones are generally divided into 4 areas:

Cold: Refrigerator

Hot: Grills and cooktops

Wet: Sink

Dry: Counters

Too much storage

Many homeowners make the mistake of skimping on outdoor cupboard space. Don’t be one of them.

While your secondary cooking area will undoubtedly be less equipped than your kitchen, remember that dust and the elements make it impossible to utilize hanging racks and other popular storage systems out in the garden.

You’ll need plenty of room to store pots, pans and basic cooking supplies unless you plan on bringing all of them outside every single time you use them.


Get more joy out of your outdoor kitchen by choosing materials that hold up to the elements and are easy to clean. Avoid porous materials and consider acid-stained concrete floors and countertops.

Open-plan concepts

Be sure to plan how each area of your backyard entertainment space fits together. Locate cooking and eating areas near each other so the cook can socialize and connect with the party. Don’t forget to incorporate swimming pools or other entertainment features into your plan, and be sure to allow sufficient room for traffic to flow into and out of the house.


Switching the arrangement of an indoor kitchen means investing in plumbing and electrical work. The same is true outside. Consider where water, power and sewer lines are located before designing to help control costs.

Two types of lighting

When mapping out your lighting scheme, provide focused bulbs directly over work areas and softer, ambient lights where you eat and socialize.

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